frelling_tralk: (X-Files Mulder in b&w by sininferno)
[personal profile] frelling_tralk
I found that season 8 really doesn't reach the heights of previous seasons, it plays it very safe in comparison to all the high-concept episodes from seasons 5, 6, and 7 like PWP, Triangle, X-Cops etc, but at the same time it is more consistent in a lot of ways, and it does do a better job of returning to the darker feel of the early years than season 7 ever managed. And of course it makes sense that there would be such a big effort to return to traditional X-Files, what with Mulder being missing and audiences needing reassuring that it's still basically the same show. I did absolutely love the first two episodes, they really did have the epic scope of a feature film with the filming out in the desert, and the helicopters! They would be among my top five episodes of the season in fact, alongside Roadrunners (the slug episode), Medusa (the subway episode), and Vienen (the black oil episode)

I heard a lot of fans suggest that David was phoning it in in season 7, but I never particularly noticed it then, whereas in season 8 it really did stand out to me at times that he was coming across as noticeably bored and did not seem to want to be there :( Incidentally I did wonder early on why they were using David for such few scenes in the episodes where he did appear, most of his early appearances consisted of five minutes or less per episode. On the commentary for DeadAlive Frank Spotnitz explains that was because there was an agreement to only use David for a strictly limited number of days. He admits that it was frustrating sometimes the amount of money they were paying just to have Mulder lying in bed all episode, or only be glimpsed at the very end of an episode. I read on-line that apparently David Duchovny told TV Guide Online that he thought Mulder's final episodes in season 8 were a lost opportunity, and he wasn't happy that the focus wasn't fully back on Mulder and Scully, but I'm not sure what else he expected when his screen time was so restricted?

I felt like the show was pretty cautious about treating Scully and Doggett as the new team early on, the show seemed more interested in exploring Doggett as an individual, but there weren't really a lot of episodes focused on them as a partnership. (i.e Scully is barely in Via Negativa, The Gift, or Redrum, and the Scully-focused episode Roadrunners has very little Doggett in it). But then it probably was a wise decision because, while episodes that separated Mulder and Scully were usually among my least favourite, I found it the opposite with Doggett. His most interesting episodes for me were the more character-centric episodes focusing on just him, or the mythology-based ones, whereas the most boring episodes of season 8 were the stretch which treated Doggett and Scully as the new Mulder and Scully. The show suffered the most from David's absence when they tried to return to that straight-forward MotW format IMO. Season 8 would have been stronger if they had done a longer run of mytharc episodes focusing on the search for Mulder, the MotW episodes didn't work without Mulder around to make wisecracks, Doggett and Scully are so serious and professional together that they just can't replicate that chemistry.

Oh and I'd heard about the infamous episode with the man that crawls in and out of people's butts in Badlaa, and umm yeah that was an interesting episode. John Shiban mentions that his original idea was for the MotW to crawl inside people's ears, and it was Chris Carter suggestion for it to crawl inside asses instead....

I'm not sure I understand the point of the retcon that Mulder was dying of a terminal brain disease in season 7 when it never really goes anywhere? It just feels like an unnecessary attempt to add ambiguity to Mulder's disappearance. Same with the IVF angle actually, CC was trying way too hard to create ambiguity about the paternity of Scully's baby, and it just ended up hurting the story that he was so afraid of committing to depicting Mulder and Scully as a romantic couple. Heck I read that apparently he originally wanted the show to end on a forehead kiss, until David Duchovny intervened and said that it should really be a romantic kiss at this point. More evidence of how CC is the worst frankly. Mulder and Scully have a child together, and you're still afraid to have them kiss for real??

And Alone is when I started to get a bit bored with the new format quite honestly. I was happy with the initial episodes with Mulder having to readjust to being back, and an episode with him starting to bond with Doggett, but then in this episode both Mulder and Scully start to feel like spare parts as all the focus shifts to Doggett and his new partner, you wonder what they're even still doing there. (I can see where David was coming from in complaining about that, although again surely it comes back to his lack of availability in comparison to Robert Patrick, not a choice of the writers?)

It is putting me off watching season 9 though tbh, because everything towards the end of this season feels like it's setting up for a new spin-off type show with Doggett. You really get the feeling that Mulder and Scully are on their way out, and that neither actor particularly wants to be there any more with how much their screentime has been cut back, so I really don't want to watch Scully awkwardly still hanging around Doggett's show next season with no Mulder. I'm happy with how season 8 ended for Mulder and Scully with their new baby, the show should have ended there imo, so I'm going to take a long break before starting on season 9 I think. I kind of don't want to watch it at all actually lol, but I suppose that I should give it a try at least...
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